While we do know that pregnancy weakens the immune systems, we don’t know for sure what coronavirus means for women who are pregnant. Of course, since long before the pandemic reached us, it has always been important for pregnant women to practice healthy hygiene and social distancing to some degree. Now, however, it may be more important than ever.
What is Coronavirus?
A new coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in 2019. This coronavirus is being spread now from person-to-person (through people in close contact with each other and by respiratory droplets), though early reports linked infections to a live animal market in Wuhan. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease, and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To protect yourself against coronavirus, during pregnancy and otherwise, follow these guidelines from the CDC:
- Avoid coming in contact with sick people
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces regularly
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If you don’t have access to soap, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol
Pregnancy and Coronavirus
Unfortunately, the CDC advises that there’s currently not enough information to know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from this disease than the general public. However, “We know from other coronaviruses, such as MERs and SARs, that pregnancy does make women more at risk,” says AdventHealth Medical Group Medical Director of obstetrics and gynecology, D. Ashley Hill, MD. The CDC agrees and advises: “Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness.”
If you begin to notice yourself having any symptoms of coronavirus, such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath, it’s important to call your doctor right away. It’s also important to avoid crowds when possible, especially avoiding those who are sick. Limiting your trips to shopping malls and other crowded places is a good idea during this time, or, better yet, have a family member run errands.
Doctor’s Visits and Resources
“At this time, we are encouraging patients to limit the number of people they bring with them, and this will usually mean zero to one person, depending on the office and circumstance,” Dr. Hill explained. Before attending an in-person doctor’s appointment, please call ahead to the office if you plan to bring anyone else with you.
AdventHealth Medical Group has recently started offering alternative visits, either by telephone or video, in order to decrease the need for patients to travel. Dr. Hill and his team have found that video and phone visits are very useful, especially for women early on in pregnancy. “Later during pregnancy, when we need to do things like measure Mom’s belly, it is more crucial to come to the office in person. But during the first trimester, video visits are a way to provide care while helping patients perform social isolation,” says Dr. Hill.
Since we are committed to providing a safe, healing environment for our patients, staff and visitors, and because of rapidly changing conditions due to coronavirus, we feel it is in the best interest of our patients to cancel all in-person classes and tours. However, we have several virtual options available and you will have the opportunity to speak to a Birth Experience Coordinator at your convenience to answer any questions you may have surrounding your pregnancy. Please note the following virtual options for your care:
- Virtual tour including a phone consult with Birth Experience Coordinator.
- Online class information and educational resources via the Baby Place Academy App.
- If you had any classes scheduled, you may reschedule classes for a later date.
Information surrounding coronavirus is constantly updating and evolving, so we ask that you stay up-to-date by visiting CoronavirusResourceHub.com, as well as the CDC.